Causes of Neck Pain

Sometimes life can certainly be a pain in the neck. Whether it’s picking up a small child repeatedly, sports injuries, or simply sitting in one position too long or sleeping in an odd position neck pain can result from most anything.

Causes of Neck Pain
Causes of Neck Pain

If you’re experiencing neck pain you may be trying to get down to the root of the problem to find the relief that you need. In this article we’ll explore some common causes of neck pain as well as some less common injuries and diseases to help you get the information you need to feel better, faster.

Some Common Causes of Neck Pain:

Neck pain is most often caused by everyday activities such as desk work, childcare, laundry, sleeping, or even sneezing violently. If you are experiencing neck pain, in some cases there may be no true way to pinpoint the exact cause of the pain. However it’s important to remember to remain in a good posture and use a good pillow while sleeping to prevent recurring neck pain.

Using good lifting habits, lifting with the legs, may also help if the pain is coming from moving furniture, yard work, or picking up a child or elderly parent who is in need of care.


Those who play sports will want to take care that they wear any necessary protective equipment and use good playing techniques to avoid injury if possible. If you’ve sustained an injury while playing sports you will want to seek treatment as soon as possible to prevent further complications.

Medication, physical therapy, or even surgery can all help you to get back to a healthy state if treatment is initiated early.

Some less Common Causes of Neck Pain:

Neck pain may also be caused by trauma or injury that is more severe than those sustained in everyday life. A common injury in car accidents, sneezing, or other activities that could cause the neck to over extend rapidly is called whiplash.

Whiplash can produce a variety of symptoms including pain, numbness in the fingers or arms, decreased neck movement or stiffness, and pain that radiates into the back or upper extremities. This type of neck pain may also cause severe headaches as well leading to a patient seeking treatment for headaches, rather than the neck injury that may be causing the pain.

Diseases that Cause Neck Pain:

Disease may also be a cause of neck pain. A common cause of neck pain in older adults is arthritis or degenerative disk disease that causes the small fluid filled sacks between the bones of the neck to collapse. When this occurs the bones may grind against each other or impinge fragile nerves travelling through the area to cause pain or numbness as well. These problems can usually be treated through medication and therapy with some cases resulting in the need for surgery.

Other disease processes that may cause neck pain are far rarer and include meningitis or tetanus. In meningitis an infection of the meninges, the tissue surrounding the brain, become infected along with the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. This can produce a stiff and rigid neck.

Meningitis always requires emergency medical treatment and is also marked by high fever with lethargy as well as a rash in most cases. Tetanus is a far less common disease today due to vaccines being widely available to prevent this condition. When a patient has tetanus muscle spasms result causing spasms and stiffness which can very often involve the neck. Like meningitis, tetanus is an emergency and must be treated as soon as possible for the best outcomes possible.

Overall neck pain can arise from a variety of sources or conditions and is best evaluated by your family doctor or an emergency department if necessary.

If you’re are experiencing recurring neck pain a change in your working environment for better posture or a general change in posture or sleeping position may be all that you need to prevent the pain on a daily basis.

After all, good neck health is essential for most of our daily activities.